Tag:Kawhi Leonard
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:34 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 8:35 pm

Leonard a last minute scratch for Rising Stars

Posted by Royce Young

ORLANDO -- Spurs rookie Kawhi Leonard will not play in Friday's Rising Stars Challenge because of strained right calf.

I know, big blow to Team Chuck. The question is, who steps up and gets those minutes? Who fits into the rotation there? Big decisions for Charles Barkley to figure out.

Looking at the roster, it's probably going to be Paul George and Gordon Hayward that are going to have to step up big. Because this game is so important.

Leonard was taken in the last four and was drawn by Team Chuck. He's been a pretty productive rookie this season for the Spurs, filling in time at small forward. He's also the second San Antonio Spur to pull out of the Rising Stars game as Tiago Splitter was replaced by Derrick Favors. Are we putting it past Gregg Popovich to ask for a little rest for his young guys? Nah, surely not.
Posted on: December 7, 2011 1:55 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 1:59 pm

Spurs to waive Jefferson with amnesty clause

Posted by Ben Golliverrichard-jefferson

We have our first victim of the dreaded amnesty clause.

Yahoo Sports reports that the San Antonio Spurs will waive forward Richard Jefferson with their amnesty, a provision in the new collective bargaining agreement that allows a team to wipe one current contract from its salary cap number (and luxury tax payments, if applicable). The Spurs recently restructured Jefferson's contract, which is worth $30 million over three years (including a player option for 2013-2014), and are now able to wipe his $9.2 million salary from their books.

Jefferson, 31, never delivered up to expectations in San Antonio. Twice a 22 points per game scorer for the New Jersey Nets, his looks and production predictably took a big hit when he transitioned into an auxiliary role for the Spurs and it never seemed like a very good fit. He was able to improve where the Spurs needed him most -- upping his 3-point shooting from 31.6 percent in 2009-2010 to 44.0 percent in 2010-2011 -- but the Spurs traded guard George Hill for the rights to rookie Kawhi Leonard, a multi-talented forward, and are in the hunt for free agent forward Caron Butler according to ESPN.com.  

The move allows the Spurs some cushion between their salary cap position and the luxury tax line, affording them the ability to spend a full Mid-Level Exception on someone like Butler without needing to shed any other contracts to avoid the tax.

Jefferson will certainly have suitors in the bid process set up for amnesty casualties, althoug he must now prepare to play for a significantly worse team, as only teams under the cap can bid for his services. There will be bids. Jefferson is on the decline but not yet washed up, and he's a proven commodity who can likely be had for less than half of his previous salary. 

Why use the clause now? The Spurs simply don't have any other bad contracts on their books. It was always going to be Jefferson if they used it. Using the clause now instead of after the 2011-2012 season provides the maximum benefit in terms of flexibility and potential recouped savings as Spurs owner Peter Holt will recover the bidded portion of Jefferson's contract. San Antonio won 61 games last season and is likely facing one final run for franchise big man Tim Duncan, who is in the final year of his contract. Jefferson was paid as San Antonio's fourth best player; the team has now made it clear that they would prefer to free up their books and spend a portion of his money more wisely elsewhere.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 9:07 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 1:02 am

Report: Spurs trade George Hill for Kawhi Leonard

Posted by Matt Moore

Update 12:45 a.m.: Terms of the deal announced also include the rights to Davis Bertans, the 42nd pick, and the rights to a pick from 2005 unlikely to ever head to the NBA, both headed to the Spurs. The Spurs essentially received two draft picks and a foreign prospect for George Hill. Not bad. 

Original report:

CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman reports that the Spurs have acquired the 15th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Kawhi Leonard, for George Hill.

The Spurs had been actively trying to trade into the lottery, and wound up with a lottery-quality pick without even needing it to be in the lottery. Leonard is an athletic three that allows them to move Richard Jefferson for quarters on the dollar, and reload with an athletic forward who can rebound, score, and defend and who is ready to contribute now. He's got polish, ability, and resolve. He was underrated coming into the season, underrated coming into the draft, and fell all the way to the Pacers at 15. 

The Pacers get a legit combo guard to play the two in George Hill. Brandon Rush has not shown that he can play consistently at that spot. Paul George can operate at the small forward position, and provide defense in relief of Danny Granger, who is also rumored to be on the trade block. Hill can handle point guard duties if called on (though with Darren Collison and A.J. Price the Pacers aren't hurting for that) and will get to focus on offense for once after being asked to do supplementary things in San Antonio. 

Once again, the Spurs come out looking shrewd and in command. Leonard's a great pick-up for a great price, but you have to think the Spurs will go guard later in the draft to replace their depth. 

Posted on: June 23, 2011 6:17 pm

Signs point to Wizards taking Vesely

Posted by Matt Moore

From Michael Lee of the Washington Post:  
For what it’s worth, the Wizards have invited staff members from the Czech Republic Embassy to attend the team’s draft party at Verizon Center on Thursday. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Wizards will take forward Jan Vesely with the sixth overall pick, but it certainly is an indication that he is in strong consideration to join John Wall in Washington.
via Does Wizards’ NBA draft invite provide clue to pick? - Wizards Insider - The Washington Post.

With Vesely being A. Czech, B. the best available small forward (arguably, depending on your love of Kawhi Leonard), and C. the most athletic player who isn't completely raw (see: Biyombo, Bismack), this seems to make a lot of sense.

Vesely has gotten lost in the Kanter-Valanciunas-Motiejunas-Biyom
bo foreign player shuffle. He's not a good, let alone great, shooter, but he's got good footwork in the post, great length and athleticism, and incredible aggression. The kid plays with an outright fire you don't see out of a lot of the Euro prospects who come over, given that so much of the European game is guided by touch. Vesely is considered older at 21, but still has great upside and on the break with John Wall would be an absolute terror.

We'll have to see if this just the most elaborate smokescreen you're going to find.  
Posted on: June 22, 2011 4:49 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 5:22 pm

The Pistons have their guy... whoever that is

Posted by Matt Moore

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports:
With top prospects in New York Thursday for media and service responsibilities, a person familiar with the draft discussions said the Pistons appear to have zeroed in on Texas small forward Tristan Thompson with the eighth pick. Thompson canceled other scheduled workouts after working out for the Pistons with five other players Wednesday.
via Draft buzz: Nash, Smoove, and more - CBSSports.com.

There have also been reports that Kawhi Leonard has canceled his workouts after meeting with Detroit. Throw Marcus Morris and now Markieff Morris on that list as well.  Now, Leonard was expected to go top six regardless, but it's interesting that so many players are certain Detroit's going to take them if available. 

The quandary for the Pistons is a complex one. They clearly need to go in a younger direction, ditching the older talent they have. But they can't really upgrade in positions they need to because of how those players have killed their value. Greg Monroe is a huge part of the future. Austin Daye presumably is, but he played most of his minutes at small forward. Jonas Jerebko is also part of that future, but he split time between the 3 and the 4. So if they draft a power forward like Marcus Morris or Tristan Thompson, Jerebko likely moves to the 3 and Daye is then benched, and that's before you get to the issue of Tayshaun Prince and whether to bring him back. If they go with Kawhi Leonard (if available) Jerebko stays at 4 and Daye, again, remains on the bench and they still have the Tayshaun Prince problem. And they still have to settle what they're going to do at the 2 with Rip Hamilton needing a trade more than anyone in the league and the question of whether to retain Rodney Stuckey

It's a mess the Pistons have gotten themselves into, and it appears one they're prepared to compound.
Posted on: June 14, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 5:47 pm

CBS Draft Special: A Q&A with Eddie Jordan

Posted by Matt Moore

CBS Sports Network provides coverage of the NBA Draft with a series of three one-hour shows previewing the Draft from the professional and college perspectives. The shows, INSIDE COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DRAFT SPECIAL, feature Steve Lappas, Wally Szczerbiak and Alaa Abdelnaby, insider Jon Rothstein, along with guest analysts Walter Szczerbiak, an international scout and the father of Wally, and former NBA coach Eddie Jordan. Monday's episode on the top prospects will re-air Tuesday night at 7 p.m. EST, followed by a brand new episode on the sleepers of this draft at 8 p.m. EST. Wednesday night all three episodes will air with a look at how the draft will affect college basketball next season. 

Tuesday morning I spoke with former Wizards and Sixers coach Eddie Jordan and got his thoughts on the draft prospects and the process that goes on in the war rooms before the draft. 

Matt Moore: Bismack Biyombo was a name that had been high on everyone's list, but a poor workout has dropped him several spots. With guys that don't have a collegiate track record to fall back on, how important are these workouts?

Eddie Jordan:  Sometimes, maybe most times, the workout are overexaggerated. If you have a body of work over three years, and you've played at a high level, that can help. But even if you don't, if the workout doesn't blow you off your feet, you still see how a kid approaches his workout, they see enthusiasm. These guys have the experience and can see what a player brings to the table. There's a saying that's used,  "The NBA doesn't lie." If enough people can see you've got what it takes, it will show. 

MM:  If we're looking at a guy with a body of work, I think Josh Selby is an interesting case. He obviously comes from a high-pedigree environment with Bill Self, but didn't get playing time and there were character issues. On the other hand, his workouts at Impact in Las Vegas were from all accounts very impressive. Where does Selby fit in this draft? 

EJ: You know, he's very young. He's a kid that with all the issues, people may take a chance. You are who you are. If you've had issues for a year or two as a teenager, they're going to resurface in the NBA. Some guys will say "we have a support system for him here, he needs this, he needs that." I'm not syaing this is truth. He's a young kid, he played on a terrific team with other good players. I have him lower first round. if he goes up higher, it's becaust that team feels they can give him a support system.

MM: What's an example of where a workout didn't show the true value of a player? 

EJ:  First that comet to mind is Kenyon Martin. He had an awful workout, I think he only went 15 minutes (laughs). And he was the first pick in the draft. I've seen guys with poor workouts and great workouts. Again, you can get more from the workout that just the pure result. 

MM: So often teams are looking for guys with upside. But I feel like Kawhi Leonard is a guy who can make an immediate impact. He's polished. He's ready to go. What are your thoughts on what Leonard brings to the table off the bat? 

EJ:  He's a player who will make an immediate impact. He's a guy who's going top 15. When a lottery team drafts a player, they want to see an immediate impact. They don't want to draft a project. Unless you look at Detroit drafting Darko. They could say "He's 6-11, we can wait on him." Not many of those teams in the lottery this year. But Leonard can come in right away and do things for your team, and that's really valuable in those lottery picks. 

MM: A lot of times teams will look over a player's defensive shortcomings because that's something they can develop. Kenneth Faried is kind of the opposite example where he's someone you have to overlook his offensive abilities. What do you think Faried can do for teams and can it outweigh that offensive deficiency? 

EJ:  Those teams in the lottery? They all need help defensively. Pretty much every team in the does. Lottery teams more than anyone. The kid is a hard worker. He will defend. He will rebound. We've compared him to a young Ben Wallace. So a team that's a little soft that needs a kick in the butt, he's the antidote in that situation. 

MM:  Enes Kanter was talked about so highly in this draft but some of his workouts have been unimpressive and there's talk he could slip some. What are your thoughts on Kanter and what he can do?

EJ: It's not hard to tell if someone can work. If you have a terrific body like he does, if you see him even in workouts where he doesn't knock you off your feet, you can see good hands, good footwork, touch around the basket, mechanics in his shot. If he doesn't have great workouts, it's because he hasn't played. People can still see what he's going to provide. 

MM: It's been said that players either have the will to rebound or they don't. How do you factor that into the draft process if you're a coach? 

EJ: It's pretty much set in stone, if you're a rebounder two or three years in college, you're going to be a rebounder in the NBA. If you haven't been, you won't be. Scouts have a saying they use a lot. "If he doesn't bite as a puppy, he won't bite as a dog."

MM: Tonight's special is on the sleepers of this draft. Who's someone who didn't make the cut on-air?

EJ: I like Nolan Smith a lot. Most people don't have him going first round. He's got a tremendous bloodline. He's been part of a winning team. He's got the competitiveness. I think he's going to be a terrific player.

MM: How do coaches and front offices balance trying to find a player who can help immediately versus a player that has better upside? Often times a player is considered "old" if he's 22 years or older, but sometimes those are players who can go immediately. 

EJ: Teams have different philosophies in drafting. I would rather have a mature player who knows how to handle himself, who knows how to learn because he's been in college three or four years, who knows how to be a good teammate. I just like mature players. Most coaches do. I think front offices like younger players, because they have more longevity and you can look at their development coaches to coaches. Coaches want more immediate impact because they're the first to go.

People just want talent. If the 19 year old talent looks like it's going to be five times better than the 22-year-old, they're going to want the young talent. Because they feel they can develop him and he can be a special player. There are three or four guys who could have come up this year and been top five picks who didn't, and they're only going to be better in next year's draft.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com